A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

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'Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
'No, I give it up,' Alice replied: 'what's the answer?'
'I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter.
'Nor I,' said the March Hare.
Alice sighed wearily. 'I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, 'than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'

John Cho. Kal Penn. Neil Patrick Harris. These are the three reasons for sitting through the Harold & Kumar series. The first film was the best, the second one unrelentingly mediocre, blah blah blah. You know this, or else are a sadist who likes to start with the third film in any given franchise.

If so, I regret not being able to hear your neurons popping when you decide to go into Pirates of the Carribbean: At World's End or Matrix Revolutions cold turkey. But I digress.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas possesses what can be politely called a mind bogglingly awful first act. It's a sad and shrill series of scenes depicting what terrible times the titular stoner duo have fallen onto. Harold has become a suit on Wall Street, Kumar has slipped into a spiral of depression. Neither seem particularly content with their lives, and so we get to sit through a series of unfunny vignettes about bodily excretion and shake our fists impotently as both men shuffle along as they've unlearned the lessons of the previous two films.

Now they are sad. And boring.

He's a smooth operator. Well, baby faced operator at least.

Speaking of impotent, this film actually poses something new for the titular duo: both are expecting fathers. These responsibilities are shuffled off with little mention until act 3 rolls around (Get it? Rolls?), and neither man still seems capable of taking care of himself, let alone a young child. When a young child is involved in this film, she's treated to secondhand pot and firsthand cocaine. One hopes that Harold and Kumar were taking notes.

But begging maturity from characters whose defining trait is their rigid yearning to reject responsibility seems a little demanding. I suppose what I really wanted from these two characters was some sort of confession of the necessity to accept adulthood, and that it isn't representative of the end of the world. Harold has obviously thrown himself at it without any relief, Kumar has held back. The characters should and almost do meet somewhere in the middle, but the movie takes pains not to emphasize this point. No one grows outside the blase moral that having a baby is a-okay as long as you can still get baked.

Insert obviousy "Why is that squirrel eating a hot dog?" joke here.

The series has slowly been collapsing in on itself, as the only charming things that remain from the first is the chemistry between Penn and Cho and the undeniable joy that Harris brings to his role. This is enough-- enough-- to rescue this film in the last half, though they're still ill served by as generic a plot as you can get.

Said plot is propelled by the old 'we need to find a tree to save Christmas' gag, which I guess indicates someone watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and knew that half of their work was already done. A trio of Russian mobsters show up because pbbbfft and there's a budding virgin and blah blah blah. I think some of the comedians lining the periphery would revile this movie if it were made by anyone else.

The rampant issues I've had with a number of other stoner comedies as late (see: Your Highness) mostly endure, though a great deal less film time is spent on weed than in the previous Harold & Kumar installments. Instead we get a smorgasbord of illegal drugs, from roofies and ecstasy to cocaine. The women are still mostly tits and ass, though there's still some vaginas for those in the audience who enjoy, you know, vaginas.

Insert lame "House"/White House joke here.

There's some penis too, and a rather dreadful bit of claymation that seems to indicate that the film's creativity was probably not vested very well. Like quite a bit of the movie, it reeks of desperation, a yearning to make A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas the ultimate stoner comedy as well as being a post-Hangover style perverted action thriller mixed with a Judd Apatow-esque tale of two men becoming adults and a postmodern parody of itself and 3D and... and...

Frankly, it's amazing how much there is crammed into the movie that just results in so little. It's unsatisfying and disappointing. You just want to shake Harold and Kumar out of their sequel induced stupor-- yelling at them, "You guys, you've been through this before! You've learned these life lessons already! Are you eternally trapped in an endless cycle of failure and stupidity?"

If they make another Harold and Kumar movie at this level, I'll at least know how they feel.

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Posted by Danny

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